McGhee Tyson Airport

Back in April of 2012 an unknown source started a fire which would continue to burn the mulch piles of Shamrock Organic Products for a week. Located in Knoxville, Tennessee Shamrock Organic Products takes in city-collected debris and transforms it into mulch. Kept in large piles, this mulch can pose a fire hazard if not turned periodically in order to stem the chemical reactions that can occur as the debris decomposes.

Two major storms in Knoxville during 2011 left a large amount of debris which was processed by Shamrock. The debris from the storms amounted to double the amount that Shamrock usually receives in a year, and this happened in half of the time.

In April of 2012 when the nine acres of mulch caught fire, rescue crews were quick to respond. Crews fighting the blaze worked 24 hours a day for a week and pumped 90,000 gallons of water an hour at a total water cost of $38,000.

Pumping some of this water was an Oshkosh Airport Products’ T-6 built in 1982 and refurbished in 1994 which is usually stationed at McGhee Tyson Airport. According to Trevis Gardner, Vice President of Airport Operations at McGhee Tyson Airport, the vintage T-6 pumped water for 136 hours straight. Gardner commended the truck on its ability to fight the blaze and its off-road capability.

The roads surrounding Shamrock were narrow and difficult to navigate, and adding water to the situation quickly turned much of the terrain into mud which can be seen in the included pictures (courtesy of Trevis Gardner). The operators running the unit also were not specifically trained on the T-6 but were able to figure out the controls due to their well thought out configuration and also the ability of the crew to learn on the spot. The airport also had two mechanics available which rotated on the scene in order to provide support for the constantly running unit.